Meet the local croc
He doesn't have a name but he is an elusive little bugger. "He" is the wild crocodile that lives in the Gooseponds - a watercourse or beautified creek which meanders through the suburbs of North Mackay. He measures 1.5 metres or about 5 feet in length and spends his days lazing around in full view of neighbouring residents or whoever happens to be strolling past. The Gooseponds has been done up over the years with landscaping, pathed walkways and playgrounds etc. Efforts to catch him have been unsuccessful so far. To date he has behaved himself and seems to like his urban lifestyle. His presence has been a controversial issue for some time.
Mackay means Beaches
"A nice place to live..."
This is the town I was born in and I have spent many years enjoying the typical laid back Queensland lifestyle we enjoy up this way. Mackay is about 900 miles from Brisbane and roughly half way up the Queensland coast. Situated between Rockhampton and Townsville it is also close to Proserpine, Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands.
It has a population of around 80,000 people but because we have such an extensive rural community you can add another 20,000 to that number.
Mackay is situated right on the coast so we get the cool ocean breezes during summer. And speaking of summers. Up this way they are long and hot!
Dotted along the coast to the north and south of us we have 31 sandy beaches to choose from. The Northern Beaches which include Eimeo, Bucasia, Shoal Point, Black's Beach and Dolphin Heads have become mega residential areas. Suburbs have sprung up around these beaches which are only 7-8 kilometres from town. Two beaches, Town beach and Illawong are part of the town itself with houses right on the esplanade.
The main harbour is now called the Marina since it under went major construction some years ago. It's all there. Condos, restaurants, yacht club and of course another long sandy beach.
The city shopping area or the 'City Heart' as we call it is landscaped with palm trees and tropical gardens. Lots of alfresco dining and good pubs and shopping. It is said our subtropical climate is similar to that of Hawaii. Hot summers and warm to cool winters.
Apart from the beaches you can enjoy our lovely rainforests. Eungella, an hours drive west of the city is one of the few places in Australia where you can see a platypus in its natural surroundings...Actually I used to live in the small township of Eton, about 20 k's S/W of Mackay. We were very fortunate to have a platypus living in the creek behind our house. He could be regularly seen paddling around.
To get to Eungella you drive up through ' the Pioneer Valley'. A stretch of road that leads west from Mackay to the mountain range. You pass small hamlets along the way and it is a very picturesque trip.
Eungella has the longest stretch of sub tropical rainforest in Australia and is 2500 feet above sea level. The Eungella Chalet is a hotel/resort offering spectacular views over the Pioneer Valley. It also has a hang gliding launch pad where enthusiasts of this sport take to the air.
Closer to the city is Finch Hatton Gorge and these two rainforests combined provide 22 kilometres of walking tracks. The various trails take you past waterfalls and gorges and deep into the lush vegetation. Quite an experience for nature lovers and good exercise too! Picture coming soon.
"How green is my valley..."
Mackay is situated in the Pioneer Valley, an intensive sugar cane growing region. This large expanse of fertile land extends for many miles and makes the landscape very pleasing to the eye. Green, green and more green.
Many small villages dot the valley and provide some interesting rest stops for those out driving for the day. Places like Finch Hatton, Walkerston, Eton, Habana and Marian to name a few. There is always something to see no matter where you go. Country pubs [ the General Gordon is a must see ] and antique and craft shops can be found throughout the valley.
We have only two seasons here.
Summer...very, very hot! and
Winter...kinda chilly but not too cold.
The best part of winter is that it is our dry season so probably the best time to visit. It has been known to get down to 2 degrees but the norm is usually about 8-10 minimum. The days usually warm up to the low twenties.
We are a popular destination for southern travellers in winter. During these months we get literally thousands flocking here to escape the cold. They are mainly caravaners who set themselves up in one of the many caravan parks to sit out the winter. Some have been known to get this far and never leave!
I hope you enjoy your stay if you choose to come on up. You won't be disapointed.